Bird song has long been associated with British poetry, especially in the Romantic period, 1780s to 1820s. This may explain why the nightingale became the most celebrated bird in English verse. The course will focus on poems by Coleridge, Wordsworth, Keats, Clare and Shelley – not only about nightingales, but also the skylark, the cuckoo, the snipe and the owl. How successfully did the poets enter the natural world of these birds? We shall explore their perspective on each bird – from the ethereal to the terrestrial, from the fanciful to the carefully observed.